Ahem, Ahem. The good Herr Doktor (me, not Faustus who is away) is feeling alot better after a nice glass of warm milk and solace from someone claiming to be his mommy. Anyway I want to reveal a more nurturing side and share with you my two favorite Pumpkin Soup recipes. One is a traditional French farm recipe the other is the my own variation on Japanese miso soup.
Soupe de courge
1 6-8 pound pumpkin
1 cup toasted croutons (make these from day old baguette)
4 ounces grated gruyere cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 to 3 quarts milk (or cream if you want)
preheat the oven to 425F
Cut a lid in the top of the pumpkin that will not fall in while cooking. Do this by cutting the lid at an agnle, large at the top and narrower at the bottom. Scoop out all the seeds and goop. Put alternating layers of croutons and cheese in the pumpkin. Add the salt and pepper and fill to 3/4 full with the milk. Place on a baking pan and bake until the pumpkin is just tender, about 2 hours.
To serve, present the pumpkin tureen at table. With a big spoon, scoop out the pumpkin meat into the soup. Serve with a green salad and red or white wine.
Pumpkin Miso Soup
3 1/2 cups Dashi (stock) (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons red miso
2 tablespoons yellow or white miso
1 block silken tofu
1 small pumpkin (about 2 or 3 pounds)
1/2 cup rehydrated wakame
2 small scallions, sliced into thin rounds
Using a melon baller, make the tofu into balls and set aside. Again, make about one cup of pumpkin balls. Steam these for 4 to 5 minutes until just tender. Set aside
Heat the Dashi over medium low heat. Place the miso in a small bowl and dilute with some of the stock. Stir the diluted miso into the stock. DO NOT BOIL as this will ruin the flavor of the miso. Add the tofu, wakame, scallions and the steamed pumpkin balls. Simmer until hot.
Serve with hot sake.
1 piece of dried kelp
4 cups spring water
1/2 cup dried bonito flakes.
Wipe the kelp with a damp towel, make three slits in it. Place the water and the kelp in a saucepan and heat over medium low. Bring the water slowly to a simmer allowing 8 to 10 minutes. Just when the water begins to bubble remove the kelp. Allow the water to come to a boil. Take off the heat and add the bonito flakes. Let sit for 3 or 4 minutes and strain through a fine strainer.